Radio: Leaving the Jukebox behind, ‘Pandora’s got that covered’

Radio: Leaving the Jukebox behind, ‘Pandora’s got that covered’

As the official radio year shifts into gear Australia’s radio bosses tell B&T of the challenges facing the industry, the opportunities and their individual hopes for 2014.

2014 is shaping up to be a positive year for radio as the “seismic” content changes coincide with deepening advertiser and listener engagement, according to radio bosses.

Today marks the official start of the radio year; with Monday January 20 the first day of 2014’s survey one.

It was also the debut for Australian Radio Network’s fresh brand, KIIS 1065, and day one for the new Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O show. For more click here.

Other changes include a new four-person breakfast team on 2DayFM, a new line-up for 2UE, a new drive team for Triple M and in the Melbourne market two heritage FM breakfast programs have been replaced.

While the media are well aware of the changes, Paul Jackson, group programme director for DMG Radio Australia, believes listeners returning from summer holidays are set for a “jolt”.

Watching the ratings and seeing how long it takes for listeners to show a clear preference is going to be “fascinating”, Jackson said.

“Sometimes it takes longer than we think for audiences to really notice and confusion can ensue. All any of the businesses can do is have their houses in order and go from there.”



Jackson is confident DMG’s house is in order, bolstered by the fact Nova is kicking off 2014 with one of Sydney’s “heritage” breakfast shows with Fitzy & Wippa and that Melbourne listeners have a “great familiarity” with the new breakfast and drive teams.

“Nova is more aspirational than it has ever been. The shows all have a real nice balance of being fun, inclusive, engaging, and slightly irreverent without forgetting we are making young, fresh, family entertainment here,” he told B&T.

“That is what all the advertisers and agencies want to see from us. The feedback we are getting is that they feel safer engaging with us than they do many other brands. We are known to be trusted.”

Smooth’s awareness has also soared, according to Jackson, and the combination of Smooth and Nova has delivered DMG stellar results. “We have more listeners and we have more share of listening with our Nova and Smooth brands versus our competitors’ [ARN and SCA] two stations in Melbourne and Sydney.”



This could change however as, as ARN’s national content director Duncan Campbell points out “there has never been this much change in the industry in over 10-15 years”.

“ARN is very focussed on its strategy for 2014 and we will be even more focussed and determined than we have in the past. We’ve come off three years of growth and the next three are very important to us in terms of ensuring that growth trend continues and that we take advantage of the learning and opportunities that flow from bringing Kyle and Jackie O to the network.”

ARN is dedicating $2m to make sure Sydneysiders know KIIS 1065 is now the home of Kyle and Jackie O but the network is also investing in WSFM’s nine-year-old breakfast team, Jonesy and Amanda.

“We plan to do more in raising awareness of their Breakfast show and keeping them front of mind with their listeners. The station has undergone a refresh and it sounds more contemporary but built on a classic hits music platform,” Campbell said.

“I expect Jonesy & Amanda and WSFM to do well this year. There is no reason why this year cannot be their best ever.”






Nova is not the only station that stands to gain from the turbulence in Sydney’s FM radio scene with 2GB confident the upheavals will highlight the brand’s consistency.

“In other words, agencies and advertisers can invest with 2GB and be confident we will deliver consistent results,” Mark Noakes, 2GB group sales and marketing director, said.

The focus for the station this year is on highlighting the purchasing power of the 2GB’s key audience, a group Noakes described as “the mature affluent”.

“We will be focused on providing further research insights and evidence into the spending power of this group.”

“We have been the number one radio station for the past 11 years thanks to some of the most listened to personalities in Australian media. Sydney listens to them day in and day out and respects their views. This is incredibly powerful for advertisers who leverage this engagement with each campaign.”



Over at SCA, chief content officer Guy Dobson described 2014 as a “foundation year for the Today network as we build a fresher brand for the future”.

“We’re pragmatically confident of a great future.”

He said the new breakfast shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are already in place and building.

“With that comes new exciting opportunities for clients we were hamstrung in executing before because of old paradigms within those shows.”



The New Year has ushered in a ship load of changes for Fairfax Radio Network, including a revamped line-up for 2UE, a rebrand which has seen 4BH become Magic 882, new hosts at Perth’s 6PR and a new line-up for Brisbane’s 4BC in the breakfast, morning, drive and afternoon slots as well as new weekend shows.

“We’re off to a fast start in 2014, with our landmark deal with Cricket Australia kicking off at the end of last year and listeners and advertisers very pleased with our offering,” Adam Lang, managing director Fairfax Radio Network, told B&T.

“We have secured the broadcast rights until the 2017/18 Australian cricket seasons and we’re delivering the most comprehensive coverage of live cricket in Australian history.”

Lang said it was an “important and very exciting time for 2UE” and is thrilled with the new line-up.

“We have strong relationships with our clients and they are very enthusiastic about our presenter line-up and plans for the station. Our early audience feedback from the presenter announcement has also been excellent.”



On the ad revenue prospects for radio this year all the networks were positive, with Fairfax’s Lang describing the medium as “very healthy”.

SCA’s Dobson said the market is “still short term transactional” but believes all the changes will stimulate radio over the year.

For more ad revenue predictions and what each of the networks identified as challenges and opportunities for their industry this year see the Q&A below.



Mark Noakes, group sales and marketing director, 2GB

Q: What do the next 11 months look like for the radio ad market?

A: “We’re expecting 2014 to be another year of substantial growth for radio. The combination of a captive audience in their car with increasingly targeted and engaging content means the medium is extremely well positioned with both audiences and advertisers.”

Q: What are the challenges facing the industry?

A: “A slower than expected economic recovery is the only real challenge for radio. We see the so-called digital and online threat as an opportunity to extend our coverage beyond traditional broadcast via”

Q: Opportunities for the industry?

A: “Radio is increasingly exploring new ways to engage audiences either via new formats and platforms. For instance, on top of our radio signal, 2GB delivers 2.6 million pieces of audio every month to audiences via That’s a significant and growing opportunity for our business and for our advertising partners.”


Guy Dobson, chief content officer, Southern Cross Austereo

Q: What do the next 11 months look like for the radio ad market?

A: It’s still short term transactional but we’re confident the slight growth month on month we have been getting will blossom even further in 2014.  There are some new exciting offerings from all networks which should certainly help stimulate radio over the year.

Q: What are the challenges facing the industry?

A: “Irrelevancy. Gotta make sure our content driven brands are relevant offering stimulating engaging product for listeners and advertisers alike. Offering Jukebox like formats will be a thing of the past. Pandoras got that covered.”

Q: Opportunities facing the industry?

A: “Embracing mobile and social. Understanding that the URL is the new transmitter.”


Duncan Campbell, national content director, Australian Radio Network

Q: What are the challenges facing the industry? A: “For content, the challenge is listener engagement. The deeper a listener is engaged with the station the more likely they are to tick you in the diary. Australian radio does a fantastic job of  creating some great entertaining content and the challenge is to keep the conversation going around  that content. I think that, as an industry, in some cases  there is a scatter gun approach to it rather than a co-ordinated strategic approach.”

 Q: Opportunities facing the industry?

A: “Despite some of the press, Australian radio has strong listening numbers and is, in fact, thriving in this country but we have to keep up and focus on how people will consume radio in the future. We are in the era of the screens and the level of engagement with those screens is increasing and will continue to.

 The future is the App, where listeners go to access the content we create on-air, online and on social, whether they’re accessing it on mobile, in the car, or the home. It’s also a place they go to engage with other listeners. The opportunity is to create one place where they go and stay and interact with the station. We’re not there yet but if we get it right it will be an environment that increases the depth of engagement, builds loyalty to the brand, drives listening and  keeps radio relevant into the future.”


Matthew Granger, national sales director – Agency, Australian Radio Network

Q: What do the next 11 months look like for the radio ad market?

 A: “2014 will be another positive year for radio as it continues to develop and deepen its offering and engagement with audiences and advertisers alike across platforms and devices. That said, it remains important for all radio businesses to consistently engage with agencies and clients about the continuing and unique strength of radio in the media mix.”  


Adam Lang, managing director, Fairfax Radio Network:

Q: What do the next 11 months look like for the radio ad market?

A: “Very healthy.  Metropolitan Radio has just had six months of growth (2.8%) to close 2013 and the market continues to look robust. Fairfax Radio Network is set to benefit from that growth with our inaugural cricket broadcast and exciting new station line-ups.”

Q: What are the challenges facing the industry?

A: “Digital. We are continuing to develop content for our DAB+ audiences, as well as content for the digital domains of websites, Facebook, Twitter. One example of new digital content we’ve launched is Fairfax Radio NTS (News Talk Sport) to appeal to and engage our digital audience.”

Q: Opportunities facing the industry?

A: “Australia is enjoying a healthy economy and our media and radio market is vibrant. Our News Talk stations have interesting stories to tell and engaging storytellers to tell them, while our Music stations broadcast the best songs across all genres and ages. This strong combination means Fairfax Radio appeals to a broad, influential and informed audience.”


Paul Jackson, group programme director, DMG Radio Australia

Q: What are the challenges facing the industry?

A: “In the face of everything, and we are getting told about how radio is performing and all these new threats, more people are listening than ever before. There is some very good talent in this country. Also there is great competition across all the radio networks which in turn drives the standard up across the board so people talk about it more. So, what’s not an opportunity for radio? This should be one the great years in radio. You don’t often see this much change, new brands being launched. This is seismic change for Sydney, and for a lesser extent Melbourne as well. I think this is a great time and radio as an industry just has to make sure we are talking to the advertisers and the agencies both individually and collectively about the power of the medium and what you can do.”

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